A major issue in high power lasers for fusion is laser-induced damage on optical components. Since damage is often initiated by a surface crack resulting from polishing, it is important to understand the physics involved in this phenomenon. In this study, calibrated surface scratches have been realized on two silica samples using an indenter-scratcher apparatus. A variety of scratches have been tested by applying different speeds and forces on the scratcher needle. Optical microscope observations show that the scratches made at highest speed create irregular dashed lines. In addition, we have observed, at intermediate speed, an evolution in time of the scratches due to local stresses in silica.
One of the samples was irradiated by a Nd:YAG laser beam at 355 nm with the scratches on the exit surface. Microscope observations were made before and after irradiation.
Strong dependence on the scratch speed was observed on the local laser damage. Again, temporal evolution of the damage has been observed.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.